This is a difficult post for me to write.
Mostly because I didn’t want to be “one” of those parents. You know the ones. You see them on the play equipment at the park, trying to coax a small child down from a slide because it’s time to go home. After 20 minutes they give up on the coaxing and just grab them. The child retaliates. They hit their parent repeatedly. The parent have an embarrassed smile on their face. You think they are weak.
Well, here I am. Laying myself bare to you. Yesterday, after 2 days of sheer horrendousness, we arrived home and The Monster (2 years 4 months) hands me the iPhone I gave him mid journey and then decides that whatever I do next, he’s not happy about it. I don’t know what it is. Was it the way I put the phone in my back pocket? Was it unrelated to the phone? Did he drop something? Is he unhappy about being home?
He won’t get out of the car.
I eventually get him on to the ground and he won’t budge. He’s stamping his foot, screaming at me. I can’t leave him on the footpath because we are near a busy road and he’s unpredictable. So I pick him up and carry him to the front door.
He lays into me with his fists. One fist (thankfully) is also enclosed around his toy dog, so I get my face hit several times. Hard fist, dog, hard fist, dog, hard fist. I can’t stop him, he’s heavy and I’m holding him with both hands. I grab the dog and throw it over the fence in anger. A couple walk past (aghast, my husband later tells me). I rush into the door, put him on the step angrily. Walk into the sitting room, tears stinging my eyes.
Why is my son being so aggressive?
I have a few theories. They are only theories thought.
He is caught a little in an unfortunate “naughty boy” cycle. His sister is very very good. She hates being told off and generally behaves herself after a warning. We introduced the naughty step to her at 18 months and she spent a fair bit of time on there as a toddler. She has a conscious and understands repercussions and would rather be good. The Monster does respond to the step. Most of the time he does what he is asked if he has been on the step once. Sometimes he will do it after the 2nd sitting. Occasionally it requires 3 sittings. He has a wry smile about the whole thing though. He has been known to get the warning and just head off the step anyway. That way he has some control, I guess. I find it a bit unsettling. I do praise his good behaviour, as much as I did with Pickle. I feel very aware he is already labelled “naughty”. He is “trying” “grumpy” “Trouble at mill”. He hears us mutter this.
My second theory is his language. He is behind his peers, but I’ve not panicked about it. Every child is different. His understanding is exceptional. He’ll get there in the end. Trouble is I think it’s the reason for his anger. This time last year was when he started being “difficult”. Our holiday to the Isle of Wight was difficult. He had no words at all and an obsession with his father. He cried a lot. Then towards Autumn hubby and I tuned into his needs, his sister got an idea of what he needed and between us we could figure out what he wanted. He learnt a few words. “Gog” – sleepy dog. “night” – at bedtime. “Wilk” – milk. His pointing was better. We would take his hand so he could show us things and through trial and error we worked it out. I think his brain has moved on even further now. He has more wants and he can’t tell us about it. It’s causing all sorts of frustration. He is lashing out. He’s spending more time on the step. He’s throwing things at me, his dad, his sister. Punishment doesn’t appear to be working, because his behaviour is being borne out of his lack of communication. Why would it work?
This weekend was a plethora of anger. He was pushed over a couple of times by an older boy in softplay and his answer was to lay into him. A wrestling match with a few punches thrown in. Part of me was pleased he could stand up for himself, but obviously the socially aware mother in me was aghast. Then there was an incident about leaving the farm. Nothing worked. 4 steps and he refused to go in his buggy. I had to carry him screaming out to the car park. Once there he took my hand and we walked in silence to the car. He was awful at his grandparents. Getting angry and every little thing. Screaming high-pitched when things didn’t go his way.
I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to bring his language up. Repeating words, asking him to say a word (which he’ll mostly oblige), but I’m not sure if there is anything else I can do. I’ve heard they get there eventually but I need to knock this anger on the head, whatever it is. I’m concerned that if his speech isn’t up to scratch by school I’ll be called in for incidents. A friend of mine’s son was 3 when he started talking, he then had 3 years of stammering. I don’t want that for The Monster. That’s not the start in schooling I had in mind for him.
I love my little boy, but I’m struggling with liking him some of the time.
Can anyone help? Any advice, similar stories or reassurance would be gratefully appreciated. I’m at the end of my tether.